Glimpses: Cenotaphs of Mandore Gardens

Mandore Gardens

Mandore was the capital of the Rathods before Rao Jodha shifted it to Jodhpur. There is little left of the original city, just a crumbling fortress wall, but what stand tall and strong today are the cenotaphs built for dead Rajput kings. At first, I thought they were tombs, and I was quite surprised that the Hindu Rajput kings chose to be buried, but I was told that it was actually where they were cremated. It’s a little creepy to be visiting what is essentially a cemetery, but the garden-like aspect of the place diluted the effect. The cenotaphs are beautiful, though, some looking like temples with their shikhara-like structure, others domed chhatris, all with the detailed lace-like stonework that is a hallmark of Rajasthani architecture.

The Men of Mehrangarh

Welcome band
They played everything from Kadam kadam badhaye ja to a wedding march

In all my travel stories, I haven’t spoken much about the people I met, unless they did something so ridiculous that I couldn’t help but comment on them. I have met some horrible people- rude, misleading, opportunistic- but I have met a lot of wonderful people as well- the ticket checker at Hospet bus stand who kept an eye out for my mom and me when our bus was delayed to almost midnight, our wonderful driver at Mysore who got us backdoor entry to the front of the temple queues, the security guard we chatted with at Elephanta. I met a lot of nice, turbaned men at Mehrangarh, men who welcomed you with a smile and a khamagani (hello or namaste in Rajasthani) and were willing to tell you the history of a particular spot even if they weren’t your official guide.
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The Finance of Travel: Talking about Money

Money. We think about it every waking minute (and most sleeping minutes too), yet we hate talking about it. We know what we would do if we had buckets of it, but most of us have little more than a trickle. And the process of managing this trickle of money to fulfill our truckload of dreams is the biggest challenge of life, the only challenge, one might say.

Travel is an expensive hobby: the most expensive, I’d say. Money is the most important aspect of any travel planning. Before I plan my travel, I don’t think about what I want to do or where I want to go, but what budget I have to work with. Only when the financial part is settled that I begin to think about the rest- itineraries, tickets, hotels and the rest.
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Glimpses: Phool Mahal at Mehrangarh Fort

Phool Mahal

How much gold leaf is too much gold leaf? However much you have is not enough, the Rajput kings would tell you. The Phool Mahal or the Palace of Flowers is a display in extravagance, with gilded columns and ceilings and enough gold to enable you to buy Lakshmi Mittal’s palatial Kensington Palace mansion. It is said that this was the pleasure room of the kings, where dancing girls danced and entertained the kings until they dropped down of exhaustion. I wish I could go back in time and give the kings two tight slaps for their excesses. That would be a fantastic scene, wouldn’t it? A mysterious girl appears out of nowhere, slaps the king and vanishes (of course I want to come back to my own timeline). Possible scene in Magadheera 2?

Hi 2014!

Chocolate caramel New Year Cake

First off, wishing you all a very happy New Year!

On this day last year, I registered the domain of this blog – musafiratheart.wordpress.com. I had always been in love with traveling, but it was only on New Year’s Eve last year that I thought of blogging about it. I didn’t publish anything for another seven months, but it was a start.

I have a post in the works on what made me want to blog, but long story short, I started this blog to make myself travel more so that I’d have stories to tell. Earlier, my travel was based on external triggers- frustration with work, others making plans- but this blog motivated me to travel more for myself. I had always had this dream of traveling at least once a month when I began working, but over the course of two years, I saw that the dream had faded away in the middle of deadlines, pressures and general laziness. This blog was a way for me to resurrect that dream- the thought was that whenever the posts on this blog dried up, I’d plan a new trip. Call me weird, but the plan worked. I went on 7 trips in 2013, 5 more than I had gone on in 2012.

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